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University of Memphis to offer free tuition to fallen service members' children, spouses

Next year, the University of Memphis in Tennessee will help cover the tuition of children and spouses of fallen service members.

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The U of M is the first college in the country to ensure students who qualify for the Folds of Honor scholarship will not have to pay for their education.

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“I'm excited for Memphis to be spearheading something as exciting news,” said Celeste Von Ahnen, who lives in Memphis.

The details of the program are not finalized, but a university spokesperson told WHBQ in a statement that “there will be a possible cap on how many will be admitted and that it is only for Tennessee residents.”

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According to the Commercial Appeal, the nonprofit Folds of Honor has been searching for a university to accept its $5,000 scholarship as "payment-in-full," and the U of M is the first get on board. 

The university told WHBQ that it will locate other opportunities and scholarships to make up the rest of the nearly $10,000 in-state tuition.

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“I think it's awesome to give back to people (who) have lost and given so much. That would be awesome to give back to them, especially in ways of scholarships,” said Allyson Carneal, a student at nearby Christian Brothers University.

It is unclear how many current students at the university are on the Folds of Honor scholarship.

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WHBQ has reached out to the university to ask about the impact of the decision. It is also unknown how the university plans to supplement the remaining tuition balance.

“I'm sure it is just an extra weight off their shoulders. I can only imagine what that is like, not having to worry about something so burdensome,” said Von Ahnen.

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It is a move that Memphis is the first to do, but will likely not be the last. On Memorial Day, many Americans reflected on the sacrifice of men and women who serve the country.

The University of Memphis is making sure their relatives are taken care of year-round, and for years to come.

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